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    A Little Taller, A Little Stronger

    May 25, 2011 by Brandy Vencel

    Today is Son E.’s ninth birthday. It’s hard for me to believe that time insists on moving forward like this. I won’t name any names, but some people aren’t nostalgic about these things. I, on the other hand, suffer birthdays like traumatic events. I suspect this is completely wrong of me, but I find that, try as I might, each birthday requires great effort for me to balance precariously the loss of a year gone by with anticipation of what the next year might bring.

    Is there a psychological disorder in which one has the overwhelming desire to freeze time? If so, that one is the one that I have.

    I try to write a little birthday post each year, if only for a little memento to keep along the way. I don’t want the years to become a big blur, which is sort of what my first five years of parenting feel like now. One big–tired–blur. So now I try and document a little along the way, in case I’m not as awake as I think I am.

    I must say I feel I’ve really seen you grow this year. You’ve gotten a little taller and a little stronger, that is for sure. But you’ve also matured. In the littler years, there is a lot of obvious growth. The sort of growth I’m noticing now is more subtle. And though you still have many {needed} years here at the microhomestead to do a lot more growing, I think this year has done you well.

    This past year you…

    • Memorized poetry and recited it manfully.
    • Decided participating in children’s choir is not so bad after all.
    • Improved your hit and throw and kick and swim stroke, to name a few.
    • Climbed higher.
    • Jumped farther.
    • Hoed your garden dutifully. You come in glistening with sweat, and you claim you like hoeing, and I like that about you.
    • Were baptized.

    There were a million other little things along the way, of course. Bad habits broken and good ones made, books read and read again, and so on and so forth.

    I think my favorite memory for the year, the one to file away and embody you when you were eight, was when you doubted the wisdom of the royal couple withdrawing the Syrian ambassador’s invitation to the wedding. Before this, many of the “opinions” you have expressed were not your own. They were mere parrotings of things you had heard adults around you say {sometimes even exaggerations of what you had heard}. But here was an opinion all your own, said thoughtfully and unexpectedly at the dinner table. When we asked you why you thought this could be a bad decision, you appealed to…hundreds of years of British history.

    In that moment, I caught a glimpse of who you are growing up to be and what sorts of things might inform your opinions.

    And I liked it.

    I liked you.

    Happy birthday, Son. May this year bless you with more of the same, growing a little taller, a little stronger…a little wiser.

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  • Reply Kristen @ Dem Golden Apples May 26, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Happy Birthday, E! What a wonderful boy you are.

  • Reply Silvia May 26, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Happy Birthday to your son. I love what you wrote too. Enjoy them and we will keep trying to discover how to freeze time!

  • Reply Jennifer May 25, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Thanks for a good tear-jerker. Happy Birthday, little Big E. I still remember you clambering around the outside tables at Dewar’s after Sunday night church.

  • Reply Mystie May 25, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    Happy birthday, E.! See, Mama, it will be amazing having a son whose opinion you want to hear. I remember Nancy Wilson once saying something along those lines: she told her son when he was a boy that right now he had to listen to her, but she was confident that when he was grown, she would sit at his feet and learn from him. And she told us, newly married without children yet or with first babies, that it is now true and it is wonderful.

    While part of my lack of nostalgia is lack of sentimental emotion, I’m afraid the trade off is then that I also lack sentiment, period, which is not good. My eyes are always on the next stage, which looks always better, and rarely on the present, treasuring the moment I am in.

    Don’t regret treasuring your moments and your children. 🙂

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts May 25, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    ps. Happy birthday to your daughter!

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts May 25, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Isn’t that the truth!

    This lovely son of mine needed discipline/correction/whatever you call it less than half an hour after writing this. Good thing I wrote it first!

  • Reply Mahers Hill Academy May 25, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Happy birthday to your son! My dd turned 9 yesterday! 🙂 I like your reflective post – good to think about how they have grown and matured during the past year, ’cause sometimes we lose sight of that during the trying times. 🙂

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